(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 17, 2008 — 3 Comments

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

At Canada’s National Post, commentator Barbara Kay learns the downsides to introducing compulsory religious education into public schools.

“Since September all Quebec students from primary school entry to high school graduation, whether enrolled in public or non-funded private schools, must attend Quebec’s new Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC). And teachers, regardless of their beliefs, must teach it … Paganism and cults are offered equal status with Christianity. Witches “are women like any other in daily life;” … And considering that of the 80,000 ethnic aboriginals in Quebec only 700 self-identify with aboriginal spirituality (the vast majority of ethnic aboriginals are Christian), aboriginal spirituality (falsely equated with environmentalism) is accorded hugely disproportionate space and reverence.”

Consider this a warning to those in America who keep insisting that the Bible and “Christian thought” be given equal time in schools. The contortions to make such desires legal in a pluralistic society may bring you down a road you don’t want to follow. We wouldn’t want anyone thinking Pagans are equal to Christians would we?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden at the Making Light blog compares Iraqi journalist Muntadar Zaidi (you know, the guy who threw his shoes at President Bush recently) with the archetype of the Holy Fool and predicts unhappy things for those who don’t allow him to go free.

“Clearly, Muntadar Zaidi is manifesting some aspect of Holy Fool. Granting him mercy and tolerance is guaranteed to make you look good, and is generally the Right Thing to Do. Oppressing him will at absolute minimum make you look bad, and it’ll be the kind of bad that sticks. Furthermore, if I believed in magic, which I don’t, I’d say that with both the turn of the year and a change in leadership coming up, this is no time to go oppressing Holy Fools. Do you have any idea what that can do to your luck? … will someone please tell George that he has two choices? He can either grab a moment’s grace in the midst of the sorry spectacle that is the end of his administration, or he can have people sending shoes in his direction for the rest of his life.”

While Americans play video games based on the event, Zaidi has been reportedly beaten and denied due process of law over an event that Bush reportedly has “no hard feelings” about. Remember, the fool is also the trickster, and they can do all sorts of crazy things if not appeased.

I’m not sure if the reviewer in question is simply exaggerating, but apparently one of the extras for Joss Whedon’s DVD release of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” has a decidedly Pagan twist.

“Plenty of subtitles to cover a healthy chunk of world viewers (the DVD is region free): English, Spanish, French, German, Wiccan, Japanese, Chinese. Notably missing: Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish.”

This feature isn’t verified in the Amazon listing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t true. If it is, I’m curious exactly what “Wiccan” subtitles would look like. Theban script maybe? For a completely unbiased review of the upcoming DVD, click here.

Its time once again to play… Santeria or Deranged Teens! Yes, that’s right, local authorities in Philadelphia have found a decapitated goat and two chickens lying in a cemetery. Even though experts in Afro-Caribbean religions have stated that such treatment of animals isn’t a part of any mainstream practice of Santeria, local animal cruelty agents know better!

“‘Tis the season for – animal sacrifice. So says a local animal-cruelty agent who believes that the Afro-Caribbean practice of Santeria is responsible for the sacrifice of a beheaded goat and two chickens found in Greenmount Cemetery within the past several days. The dead animals were slaughtered in the cemetery using a makeshift altar surrounded by candles and pennies, said George Bengal, director of investigations for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “This is the time of year,” in the weeks around Christmas, “for a lot of religious sacrifices,” including satanic rituals, Bengal said. Muslims also practice animal sacrifice this time of year, he said.”

Our contestant has picked Santeria! Unless it was Satanists or Muslims. But it certainly wasn’t deranged teenagers getting their kicks (we all know that never happens). Join us next time as we continue to allow uneducated guesswork and bias to enter into journalistic accounts of a crime on …. Santeria or Deranged Teens!

In a final note, the Aegisub editor blog compares programming languages with different religions.

“Ruby would be Neo-Paganism – A mixture of different languages and ideas that was beaten together into something that might be identified as a language. Its adherents are growing fast, and although most people look at them suspiciously, they are mostly well-meaning people with no intention of harming anyone.”

He also compares Wicca with the programming language Lua, and Ancient Paganism with COBOL. I’ll allow the more programming-savvy readers of my blog to pass judgment on how accurate his comparisons are.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Cat Chapin-Bishop

    Hmmm. COBOL–the programming language that refuses to die.I kinda like it.Thanks for the coverage of Zaidi, Jason. That story troubles me deeply.

  • ArachneDefiant

    As always, and excellent, succinct, and enjoyable overview of pagan news – thanks for putting it together.Your comments about the teaching of religion in schools is extremely well put – it’s easy to want religion overviewed in school, as long as you don’t consider all the other religions that deserve review as well. Sounds a lot like the ‘problem’ with democracy – you may get to say what you want, but so does everybody else. 🙂 Nothing like equal representation to get people’s knickers in a twist, huh?

  • Peg A

    I vote Deranged Teens with a Modifier of Deranged Teens Involve in Gang Initiations! Ding Ding Ding!Seriously–a police spokesperson in a major U. S. city who STILL doesn’t know not to blame “satanists” or Santeria practitioners (both of whom tend to practice in their own homes or temples, for starters) for this crap?Hint, guys: if it’s in a cemetery (empty at night and therefore an easy place to wreak havoc) and it’s messy and easily found, it’s teens.